Piaget’s Black Tie Vintage For Only Watch 2017: Not Your Typical Piaget, Yet Still A Quintessential Piaget
by Martin Green
Since its launch in 2005, Only Watch has been one of the most significant auctions in the watch world. A biennial charity auction founded by Luc Pettavino, Only Watch is organized by the Monegasque Association Against Muscular Dystrophy (MAAMD) under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Brands donate unique timepieces that are auctioned. The proceeds are used completely to help finance research against Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a debilitating and life-threatening genetic disorder affecting around one in 3,500 boys including Pettavino’s own son, who died of the disease in November 2016.
One of the 49 brands donating watches in 2017 is Piaget, who created a very special version of its Black Tie Vintage for the occasion. It is one of those watches that begs the question: is a Piaget that isn’t ultra-slim still a Piaget?
Ultra-slim is only part of the equation
To answer that question we need to do a little time-traveling: while in more recent years Piaget’s ultra-slim watches have been breaking records and capturing headlines, however, this was slightly different in the 1950s.
Piaget’s quest to create thinner, and smaller, movements was never about breaking records (although I am sure the brand considers this a pleasant side effect), but rather about creating more artistic freedom for its designers.
The smaller and thinner the movement, the more room for designers to let their minds roam free.
One such watch was the original version of the Black Tie Vintage, which in the 1950s was Andy Warhol’s timepiece of choice. It is not that difficult to see why this watch appealed to the artist: its lines are pure, even simple, yet they achieve a synergy that simply captures you.
Hard stone protection
This Black Tie Vintage is not as slim as Piaget’s modern models tend to be. It is also not as small, and especially not as small as the vintage models. Measuring 43 by 45 mm, the Black Tie Vintage takes up real estate on the wrist, and that is a good thing!
Piaget utilizes the space that this size lends to create for a very elegant stepped case, which is very difficult to polish with its alternating matte and polished surfaces, and show off the unique brown Pietersite dial in all its glory.
Hard stone dials have been an integral part of Piaget’s history, but this Pietersite is something else!
Visually, the stone looks more like an avant-garde painting – perhaps another subtle reference to Warhol?
Piaget brings it all together with a beautiful brown alligator strap and a closed case back featuring engravings of the coat of arms of Piaget as well as a reference to the Only Watch 2017 auction.
Some might be disappointed that the movement itself, manufacture Caliber 534P, is not visible, but that wouldn’t do justice to the heritage of this very special watch, which Piaget made unique for this very special occasion.
For more information, please visit www.onlywatch.com/the-watches/piaget.
Quick Facts Piaget Black Tie Vintage Watch for Only Watch 2017
Case: 43 x 45 mm, yellow gold
Dial: brown Pietersite
Movement: automatic manufacture Caliber 534P
Functions: hours, minutes
Estimate: $31,000-$52,000 / €27,000-€46,000 / 30,000-50,000 Swiss francs
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Also published on Medium.